I have always enjoyed the tapas way of eating, a little bit of this..a little bit of that, and there are some wonderful flavour combinations that can be found in Spain, this is my own little mix up of a few good things a la Hugh F-W.
One of my crops that has performed pleasingly well have been my 2 Pimientos de Padron chilli plants, I have lovingly nurtured these since spring, and they have struggled through the cold wet winter and are finally flourishing. I have had a few handfuls of these wonderful chillies, they had a great flavour, were a good size, and were quite cheeky in their chilli kick.
I made a lovely simple tapas dish by frying some cubed parboiled potatoes in extra virgin olive oil until nearly crispy on a high heat, tossing in some cubed chorizo, then the padron chillies with a little sea salt and pepper, cook until the padrons are starting to blister and brown and the chorizo releases it’s rich oils to flavour the potato. Finish with a little finely chopped flat leaf parsley.
Perfect enjoyed with a glass of Spanish Tempranillo.
As I’ve mentioned previously I love this time of year, one of the great things is that there are always lots of local events celebrating Autumn and the wonderful produce that is available, and as it has been a really tough year for farmers here in the UK, they really ned all the support we can muster, especially the ones doing something a little bit different, so when we saw an Apple and Pumpkin Day at West Town Farm on the outskirts of Exeter advertised, we just had to pay a visit.
An organic farm producing beef, pork and vegetables, they certainly seem to have a good model for diversification, they were very busy, and also very lucky with the weather.
And what a fabulous day we had, we were able to carve pumpkins, and some of the varied squash were available to buy, there was a straw bale den for the kids to clamber in, and we were able to freely explore the farm which we all loved.
We enjoyed an organic burger from the farm BBQ which was really juicy and flavourful, and a slice of flapjack from the Organic Arts cafe there, and with the energy from these treats pushed on up the hill to the Orchard. Here we were shown how they press apples and were treated to some of the juice straight from the press, there were also stories around a campfire and stewed apple cooked in a dutch oven. There were lots of activities for the kids, and a wonderful atmosphere.
Our little treasures also enjoyed a ride on a pony and cart that ambled down the grassy lanes, all in all a fab day, get out there and find out what events are on in your area, before you know it winter will be here.
There are so many wonderful possibilities in the garden at this time of the year, just before the first frosts of the year hits, there’s still an abundance of vegetables, I like to make sure I make the most of these last offerings, and for me this usually makes the perfect opportunity for a traybake, easy weekend food at its best.
I’m not going to tell you specifics to use, just have a look around the garden and see what is available, mine contained chicken thighs that I’d browned in the pan, shallots, garlic, a courgette that had been discovered in it’s marrowlike glory, some mirabelle plums, chunks of green tomato, some parboiled potatoes, a few baby plum tomatoes. Drizzled with olive oil, some fresh chopped herbs and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. You can leave out the chicken if you want a vegetarian version.
I cooked this in a medium hot oven 180 degC, or wonderful cooked in a wood oven or on a hot BBQ for 30-40 mins, turning a couple of times, until everything is slightly caramelised on the edges, and soft and slightly sticky. I usually pop a couple of lemon wedges in for the last 10 minutes. You can drizzle with balsamic vinegar when it comes out of the oven, and add cubes of crumbly feta as well if you have them.
We enjoyed ours with chunks of homemade bread and a glass of Rose wine.
You might have gathered by some of the posts that I have done in recent months that I am a big fan and supporter of British Rose Veal, the quality and delicacy of this meat is outstanding, and I struggle to understand the reluctance for a lot of people to give it a try now the issues of poor husbandry are no longer valid.
I have discussed the price of Rose Veal with a few people, and yes if you plump for a pricey cut such as a fillet or sirloin, it’s going to cost a bit, but a cut such as these bone in shin represent really good value. The marrow in the bone just adds so much depth of flavour it’s best if you can keep the bone in.
I picked up these lovely bone in veal shins from my friends at Pitmans Farm. I rolled the meat in a little seasoned plain flour and browned both sides in a shallow wide cast iron casserole dish on a medium heat, in a couple of tablespoons olive oil and a knob of butter. Once brown I removed the meat and set aside.
Then soften 2 onions, 2 sticks of celery, 2 cloves of garlic and 2 carrots (all finely chopped) in a little olive oil. Then pop the meat back in the pan, add a sprig of rosemary, 2 bay leaves, and a glass of white wine. Allow the wine to reduce a little and add 500ml of a light stock, I used chicken stock, 200ml passata, and season to taste.
Place the lid on the casserole dish, and allow to bubble away for a couple of hours until the meat is soft and the sauce rich and thick.
Serve with a simple risotto ( milanese), polenta or mashed potato, and garnish with a gremolata made from the zest of a lemon, a couple of tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley, and a mashed clove of garlic.
I’m sure every one of us will welcome Autumn with an Apple Crumble, I often think of such a simple but warming dish as a pudding equivalent of a hug. I’m sure most of you will have your own version of this classic dish, but I’d like to share with you my own.
I like to caramelise my cooking apples to give them a sweeter warmer edge as often I find apple crumbles simply too sharp.
So I take 6 good sized Bramley apples, this was about all I had this year from my own disastrous crop. I peeled, cored and cubed them and placed them into a large saucepan with 50g unsalted butter and 80g soft light brown sugar, adding a dash of real vanilla extract, and a pinch of mixed baking spice. Heat on a moderate to high temperature until the caramel just starts to thicken and darken slightly. Pour the apple mixture into a pie dish or similar.
Make up a crumble mixture, none of your doughy or sawdust crumbles here, this is crunchy crumbly perfection, place 200g cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes in a food processor. Add 100g ground almonds, 150g plain white flour, 50g rye flour, and 175g light soft brown sugar, blitz until it reaches a breadcrumb consistency and pour over the apple mix into an even layer. Sprinkle a little unrefined brown sugar crystals over the top.
Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degC for 25 minutes until the top is brown and the apple mix starts to bubble over the edge.
Serve with your choice of cream, custard or ice cream.
These have been the best steaks I have ever eaten, “Bone In” Ribeye, 28 day dry aged, and from Dexter cattle cooked dirty style. See my recipe and video http://www.food-mag.co.uk/smoky-and-the-wood-pit-dirty-cote-de-boeuf-recipe/
Hope you like the video, it’s my first foray on the wrong side of the camera.
I love to take slightly out of the ordinary ingredients and do something a little different and play a little with flavour combinations, something us food bloggers have the opportunity to do more than most.
While I’ve been working in Scotland recently, I just had to have a play with some haggis, so once I had caught my haggis in the wilds of Scotland and prepared them for cooking, I came up with the following recipe.
Slice a whole fennel bulb 0.5cm thick leaving the root on to hold together. Cook very slowly for around half an hour on a low temperature in a medium frying pan with the lid on in a little olive oil, with a chopped garlic clove and some thyme. When it’s really soft turn the heat up to brown and add a splash of good Scotch Whisky and cook until a tempting caramel brown, you will smell when it’s ready.
Set aside the cooked fennel, and brown off the slices of haggis in the same pan until brown and crisp on each side and remove, pop in a couple of slices of sourdough and toast both sides, this will soak up the lovely fennel and haggis flavours too.
Construct your crostini, place the bread on a plate, drizzle on a little olive oil, top with the fennel and then the haggis, season and serve with a wee dram of good Scotch.